Basketball: Troubled Royals on the slide

(First Edition)

THE country's most successful clubs are fighting through the play-offs to reach the Carlsberg championship finals at Wembley on 1 to 2 May, but Hemel Hempstead Royals are likely to learn then that they are being relegated to the Second Division of the National League, writes Duncan Hooper.

Hemel finished bottom of the division with just four wins from 33 games, although the two clubs above them also come under scrutiny as relegation candidates. But Sunderland Saints, who won six games, and Cheshire Jets, whose strong finish earned them 10 victories, seem likely to survive.

The Second Division champions, Doncaster Panthers, will be promoted and could be joined by their divisional play-off winners. But if the Panthers win that as well only they will go up.